As we have discussed in previous postings, I belong to no group and especially any that have subjective definitions such as Conservative, Liberal, Communist or Socialist. In fact, there are very few “groups” with which I accept any direct association perhaps with the exception of male, and my love of antiques, music and theater combined with my disdain for any organized athletic event makes that suspect as well.
So I am careful not to call myself a Libertarian. Do I share some philosophy with their formal platform or “statement of principles?” You bet. And the fact that they have a defined set of principles is kind of neat.
So before I talk about crushing the helpless, let’s take a moment and look at some of those principles. These were taken right from The Libertarian Party web site, www.lp.org. Take a saunter over there and give it a tumble. I promise it will not give you the cooties or corrupt your moral sense of right.
1.0 Personal Liberty Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual's right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
Can ya argue with that one…really?
1.1 Expression and Communication We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.
Come on…kind of attractive don’t you think?
1.2 Personal Privacy Libertarians support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Yeah, I know. This is what gets many. Legal drugs….legal prostitution…. Grow up. Think about the reality of eliminating victimless crimes from the books and get back to me. But only after you have really fired up a couple of million synapses working it.
1.3 Personal Relationships Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government's treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.
Sounds pure and simple. Is it really more complicated than that?
1.4 Abortion Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
Sure. Ron Paul is really against this. He’s delivered a few babies in his time and has a thing about it. And this makes my point. Ron Paul is not the Libertarian Party. He is one person. But we tend to take one, or a couple of usually very vocal people, and paint everyone within arm’s reach with the same paint. Please give us few thoughtful souls a bit more credit. Either we agree with the formal platform and realize Ron has strayed a bit from the reservation on this one, or we are individual free thinkers that do not accept the pure dogma of any one group.
There are 22 other principles that are worth your time to take a look at. You may be surprised that they involve such matters as the fact that the government should not subsidize any form of energy, property rights are very important, immigration should be much, much more open, and no discrimination of any type is to be tolerated.
I am betting that if you read these principles with an open mind, you will agree with virtually all of them.
So let’s get to the part that I love to crush the helpless. When people come to their own erroneous conclusion and want to label me a Libertarian, the next reflexive response is that as a Libertarian I love to crush the helpless. Well, maybe not crush them but certainly they think we believe we should ignore them and let them wither away. Thin the herd. Let the strongest survive. Cast the weak to the side.
I guess the only question I can ask is how do you get there from here? What is it in the credo that leads people to think that people who subscribe to the Libertarian philosophy must be heartless when it comes to the helpless? Libertarians simply believe that it's wrong to take by force money from one group of people and give it to another group of people. It’s that simple. In fact, any privately funded charity would qualify as Libertarian because it is based on people giving voluntarily.
Some people like to be affiliated with a group and will follow that group’s entire philosophy without question. Kind of like religion. There are some fundamentalists that believe what the bible says word for word. Then there are others that don’t. And like most things, my money would bet that the vast majority of people that consider themselves religious do not take the bible word for word as legit. Then there are some people who do not associate with any specific group, but pick and choose from what they think is right. They form their beliefs based on the buffet of life’s knowledge. I like to think of myself in this group.
A quote from Ayn Rand is so appropriate here. She is so maligned by people who have not read her books or studied her philosophy. This ignorance leads people to associate her with the Libertarian cause. Nothing could be further from the truth. To make several of my points in one swoop, I will quote Ms. Rand;
Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to “do something.” By “ideological” (in this context), I mean groups or movements proclaiming some vaguely generalized, undefined (and, usually, contradictory) political goals. (E.g., the Conservative Party, which subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the “libertarian” hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism.) To join such groups means to reverse the philosophical hierarchy and to sell out fundamental principles for the sake of some superficial political action which is bound to fail. It means that you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies.
[Ayn Rand, “What Can One Do?” Philosophy: Who Needs It]
So let’s form our opinions about a person or even a particular group based on finding out what that person really believes or actually studying the group’s philosophies. Let’s not take other people’s rash generalizations about a group as fact. Let’s engage in dialog, be thoughtful, and form our own opinions.